Travel Tip Tuesday: Travel Burnout – Is There Such a Thing as Traveling Too Much?

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Pensive Girl


It all looks the same.
Is anything new anymore?
Cobblestones, squares, kebab shops, palm trees, fountains, another f’ing cathedral.
Months and months on the road, there is no denying that great sights start to blend together and lose their once dazzling sheen.
You are no longer giddy with excitement and there is an absence of that jaw-dropping awe. I knew it happened to me when I was standing in the desert, looking up at the Great Pyramids and thought, ‘meh.’
For those out there traveling long term, there is no denying that some kind of burnout is inevitable, even if you are still excited, but just so damn sick of packing and unpacking your bag.  So what to do to keep burnout at bay? Here are some ideas for you.

Keep Burnout at Bay

Travel Slower

This is probably the best advice that seems perhaps the most counterintuitive. Maybe you feel homesick and want to speed up your travels so you can get ‘home,’ wherever that is. But why not simply make your life out in the world more like ‘home?’ Stop rushing through cities, towns, and islands and kick back and stay awhile. Unpack your bag (my favorite thing to do!) and stay in one place to really get to know it.

Do something

Get a job, volunteer, take a salsa class or find some other way to connect with people (other travelers and locals). My most memorable experiences were when I immersed in society and did SOMETHING – like working in a café in Melbourne, or volunteering at Crisis UK over Christmas, or doing an English Immersion ‘camp’ in Spain. I was living life, connecting with people, and didn’t feel like a tourist at all. I was part of society and had a structure and purpose.

Croatia cafe

Get Online and then Go Offline

The internet is truly an amazing resource to find local activities, meet-ups, couchsurfing groups, expats groups, etc. Without it my trip (and life) would be entirely different.  This is just another way you can connect with locals and build a little community for yourself in your new home. I am always amazed at how easy it is to find ‘new’ friends where I never had any before. There are great sites and tools out there, you just have to use them. Once you make these virtual connections, get offline and go meet face to face. That’s the best part.

Get Keys

Whenever I’ve either house-sat, or used couchsuring or got an apartment rental, there was something much less transient about it. I lived in a real neighborhood. I had a kitchen. I could unpack my things. I could sit on my couch and chill at night if I didn’t feel like going out just for the sake of it.

Relax on the Couch

I think the biggest keys (yes, besides those house keys) to prevent burnout are all about becoming more local. Insulating yourself less from your new ‘home’ and meeting the people and living like a local. Whenver I did this, I made wonderful new friends (with very little conscious effort) and made memories that I cherish much more than seeing any museum or ‘tourist’ site.

Give Yourself a Break

As much as people may be jealous of your year-long ‘vacation.’ We know full well, it’s not a vacation.  Traveling full time can be hard work. It can be daunting and exhausting thinking about where you will ‘live’ every week or so. So besides taking a literal ‘break’…give yourself a break. Let yourself off the hook for feeling tired or down.  Although our photos tell a different story, not every moment on the road is roses and sunshine. It’s life intensified and you will feel it all. So let yourself.

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Does that mean I’ve found the cure to travel burnout? Of course not. When I take short trips, I still find it hard to immerse and do what I have suggested above if I’m only going for a week.   And I still haven’t recaptured that thrill and excitement of the first year of my trip, but maybe like a good relationship, it has settled into a comfortableness – a love and respect for travel and for the world itself.


    • says

      So true Nora! After traveling so much now, I have let myself off the hook – I have no NEED to rush around sightseeing, I simply want to meet people, soak in the vibe…and eat!

  1. says

    This is such a true and helpful post! Agree in everything, but mostly on having some keys! You definitely need a place to crash down normally, to feel somehow at home, to have your own space, to be able to sit and relax, not on a bunk bed or hotel bed with no kitchen or no appliances of a basic kind. To me this is it too. Slow travel will allow you to do this for sure. And if not, simply keep looking for a real home space no matter where or what :)

    • says

      Thanks Mariana! It is a long term traveler’s dream to unpack for awhile. In fact, this spring, I will be participating in a “getting local” experiment in Berlin. Really excited to have the actual ‘job’ of getting as local as possible!

  2. says

    Nowadays is getting more and more popular to house sit or coach surfing and surely ads to the excitement of meeting new people all the time. Surely traveling too much can only be related to the will to travel, the time and commitments you have back home and physical exhaustion.

    Finding the right balance is the key to this equation. This article from Lisa is just like the math teacher telling you the formula.

    Great advice
    Thanks Lisa

  3. says

    Another good way to make travel more fun is to simply relax and enjoy as if everyday is a vacation. Yes, you have an itinerary to follow but it also makes your travel worthwhile if you simply divert yourself from what your travel is supposed to be and do a different thing, at least for one day.

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